What We Do
The Equine Embryo Laboratory performs both research and clinical work in equine assisted reproduction. Currently, the lab is one of fewer than 10 in the world actively doing research on horse cloning, and is one of the two main laboratories in the United States performing clinical oocyte recovery and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to produce foals from client mares and stallions. Since 1999, the laboratory has performed research on equine oocyte maturation, fertilization, sperm injection, early embryo development, and cloning. The lab produced the first horse foal from an in vitro-produced embryo in North America (via ICSI and embryo culture) in 2003, and the first cloned foal in North America in 2005. We have published more original scientific reports on equine cloning and ICSI than has any other laboratory in the world.
The results of this research are now being applied clinically, in collaboration with the Section of Theriogenology in the Large Animal Clinic here at Texas A&M. ICSI is used to produce foals from client horses—for problem mares for which embryo transfer has poor success, for stallions with low sperm reserves, and for embryo production post mortem from mares that suffer untimely death. New research from our Laboratory on embryo biopsy allows genetic diagnosis of embryos before transfer, to avoid production of foals with genetic diseases. The Laboratory has developed a technique to vitrify (freeze) embryos collected on the standard flush day, Day 7, which provides a method to utilize older or valuable mares year round and still obtain foals that have early birth dates.
The overall goal of the Equine Embryo Laboratory is to provide answers for important clinical problems in equine reproduction, to allow breeders to optimize their breeding programs, and to preserve exceptional equine genetics.